We provided advice a few years ago about what actions business owners should consider if their bank rejected a small business financing request. The earlier advice is now likely to be especially relevant for many businesses since banks are currently saying "no" more frequently than they have in decades because of a deteriorating commercial lending environment.
A bank saying "no" can actually lead to an overall improvement in commercial financing options under many circumstances, although a business owner is not likely to hope for the business loan rejection in the first place. With requests for needed business financing and working capital, small business owners are increasingly hearing their bank say "no". Most commercial borrowers are often not sure what to do next since such an awkward situation represents uncharted waters for them.
Even for long-term and profitable customers, banks are routinely saying "no" to small businesses. It is now common to hear phrases such as "thinking outside the bank" and "business loans without banks" when talking about strategies small business owners might need to analyze because this has become such a widespread commercial lending problem.
When contemplating the possibility of banks saying "no", there are two especially common financing situations likely to materialize for businesses. One of these involves working capital loans (including commercial lines of credit) and the other commercial real estate financing. Recent nationwide commercial lending reports clearly show a drastic reduction in commercial loans for working capital loans and commercial mortgage loans, although it is true that a small number of banks are still proving to be reliable sources for some business financing options.
Small businesses have only rarely pursued the option of replacing their bank. There is little recourse but to pursue such a path when their bank says "no" to routine requests for business financing, and astute business owners need to quickly accept this harsh reality. Improvements to the overall financial health of a business will be achieved in a pleasantly surprising number of cases even though this search for new commercial finance alternatives is undertaken under protest by most commercial borrowers. It should not be overlooked that one or two banks often operate in a near monopoly environment in many communities and cities. When small business owners have literally been forced to find new business finance options, they are often pleased to discover that they can not only replace existing bank financing satisfactorily but also improve their bottom line in the transition.
A prudent starting point for commercial borrowers to adequately evaluate how to get working capital and other business loans when their bank says "no" is likely to be a lengthy conversation with a small business financing expert. Finding and selecting such an expert will not be a quick or easy task for business owners, but this step is likely to be critical to eventual success in formulating a strategy for obtaining new sources of effective commercial finance funding. Ensuring that the commercial financing expert chosen is totally independent and not affiliated in any way with the bank which said "no" is an especially crucial aspect not to be overlooked in locating a reliable expert to help.
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